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When to Know You Have Depression?

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life, but when emotions such as hopelessness and despair take hold and just won’t go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just trying to get through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. By understanding the cause of your depression and recognizing the different symptoms and types of depression, you can take the first step to feeling better and overcoming the problem.

Depression is a common and debilitating mood disorder. More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy life. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

While some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom, others feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic. Men in particular can feel angry and restless. No matter how you experience depression, left untreated it can become a serious health condition. But it’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression—not the reality of your situation. There are plenty of powerful self-help steps you can take to lift your mood, overcome depression, and regain your joy of life.

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.

10 common symptoms of depression:
  1. Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  2. Loss of interest in daily activities. You don’t care anymore about former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  3. Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  4. Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
  5. Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  6. Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  7. Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  8. Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  9. Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  10. Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Is it depression or bipolar disorder?
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves serious shifts in moods, energy, thinking, and behavior. Because it looks so similar to depression when in the low phase, it is often overlooked and misdiagnosed. This can be a serious problem as taking antidepressants for bipolar depression can actually make the condition worse. If you’ve ever gone through phases where you experienced excessive feelings of euphoria, a decreased need for sleep, racing thoughts, and impulsive behavior, consider getting evaluated for bipolar disorder.

Depression and suicide risk

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. 

If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:
  1. Talking about killing or harming one’s self
  2. Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  3. An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  4. Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
  5. Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
  6. Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
  7. Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
  8. A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy
 
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life.

If You Are Feeling Suicidal…
When you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary—they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help.

The Department of Health (DOH) in the Philippines launched a  a national crisis hotline to assist people with mental health concerns ranging from counseling to psychiatric emergencies and suicide prevention.

The crisis hotline is operated by the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH), which has trained respondents to properly deal with those in need 24/7.

The hotline can be reached through the following numbers:

0917-899-USAP (8727)
0917-989-8727

"The hotline aims to send a message to those with mental health issues that they are not alone. It's okay to not be okay.... There is hope. Recovery is possible and there should be no shame in getting help," the Health Secretary said in a press conference.

The hotline offers assistance for callers experiencing depression, suicidal thoughts, substance abuse and addiction, and other mental health concerns.

Aside from these, the hotline is also for individuals needing mental health assistance related to issues such as gender identity and sexual orientation, school and career, domestic abuse, sexual abuse, and violence against women and children, among others.

There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!!

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